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Concert held in honor of retiring VHS band director Daniel Pritchett

Daniel Pritchett center directs 170 current former student from his 38-year career Valparaiso High School during Sunday concert Central Park

Daniel Pritchett, center, directs 170 current and former student from his 38-year career at Valparaiso High School during a Sunday concert at Central Park Plaza. | Post-Tribune photo

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Updated: August 9, 2013 6:28AM



VALPARAISO — On Sunday, 170 of Daniel Pritchett’s current and former students gathered under his direction for a farewell concert at Central Park Plaza.

The players came together from across the country and covered his 38-year span at Valparaiso High School. He’s retiring after 18 years as band director and 20 years as assistant band director.

“I’m still teaching summer school, so I still have 13 days of teaching beginners. Then, it’s going to become a reality,” he said shortly before the concert began before a full crowd at the park.

A similar concert Saturday featured 55 current and former jazz band students. Pritchett said he put on a farewell concert when his predecessor, Robert Miller, retired, and decided to do another one.

The musical pieces he selected for Sunday’s concert ran the gamut, from “Esprit de Corps,” written for the U.S. Marine Corps band, to the theme from the movie “Back to the Future.”

“There’s no theme. It’s just music I like from composers I like,” he said.

The players in the band enjoyed working with Pritchett another time. Jan Brooks Siegfried, a clarinet player, was in the Air Force band for 20 years and now teaches high school band at a private Catholic school. She lives in Fairfax, Va

She graduated in 1978, so she got to work Pritchett when he was a student teacher.

“We’re playing just a great set of ever type of genre,” she said. “Dan tried to put together a program that spoke to each of us, and I think he did a great job.”

Heather Scott, also a clarinet player, sat a few chairs from Siegfried. She graduated in June and is majoring in music education at Indiana State University. Scott played baritone saxophone during Saturday’s concert, too.

She has been a student of both Pritchett and Miguel Rosario-Vega, who is stepping up as band director now that Pritchett is retiring. As Pritchett offered water and sunscreen to band members, Scott reflected on his pending retirement.

“He’s become kind of a father figure for all of us,” she said.



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